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PBM Chaos Comic for Issue #15
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Well, I sure blew things in the last issue, because I forgot to include my lead off article. How absent-minded is that? But once I pull the trigger on the SEND button, there's no calling it back. Live and learn, hopefully!

I started on this issue within minutes of sending out the last issue. Reader Teddy Tedstone sent me an e-mail real quick like, wanting to sign up for PBMville: Wild West Shootout. Which was real nice, as the more guns blazing on PBMville's fictional PBM streets, the better. His character will be following close on the heels of reader Bryan Ciesielski's character who took to the streets of PBMville in Issue #14.

All of these PBMville players, whether they realize it or not, are guinea pigs. Just a real simple game, but a new game. How on Earth anyone can miss a turn, when you only have one order to issue (for now), is beyond me, but that ain't nearly as bad as forgetting to include an entire article. One of these Wild West villains likely rustled that article of mine, and made off with it in a clean getaway. I ain't saying that Richard Lockwood stole it, but he does look guilty as hell - plus he's done some crazy shit in his days as a PBM gamer.

Turn #14 also marked the entrance into PBMville of its very first NPC (non-player-character). You didn't really think that there was no law in this town, now did you?

Going forward, there may or may not be other players that choose to join the fray. I hope so, but I won't be losing sleep over it, even if nobody else signs up. So, where am I going with this PBMville mini-game? The hell if I know.

I don't even really know what to call it. It isn't played via postal mail, but turn orders are received via e-mail, and turn results are delivered via e-mail. So, technically, I guess that it's a PBeM game. It's also pretty much an off-the-cuff style of game. It was designed off-the-cuff, and players only issue one turn order per character, thus far. Now, whether players "evolve" to control multiple characters and/or to issue multiple turn orders per game, well, we'll just have to wait and see. Heck, I don't even know, yet, what all might transpire over the course of the game, not even know how long or how short that the game, itself, is going to last. It could turn out that players rapidly loose interest in such a simple design of a "game."

I am hesitant to even call PBMville a game, for there's not a lot of meat on the bones of it, though perhaps it has a little bit of imagination meat on the seemingly-fragile bones of its hastily-designed self. That said, unlike a great many PBM games, PBMville has both a player base and an audience - the readership of PBM Chaos.

Rather than the historical Wild West/Old West, it's erected around Western movies and myths that of the Wild West era of American history. So, gunslingers (which seems to be a term that came about well after the Wild West era) are commonplace, which is probably at odds with historical accuracy.

So, where is PBMville located, specifically? That's a question that I'm asking myself, this Wednesday morning while it's still dark outside (5:44AM EST). Honestly, I never gave that a clue, when I first set PBMville into motion. So, it's probably locate not far from a place called Imagination, USA. It's definitely out West, some place, but there's no actual 100% certainty. It's kind of like the Twilight Zone, in a way. It's populated by people (characters) who just sort of found their way at different points in their respective lives. I don't even have a map for it, other than the town map marked with all of the in-town location number son it that players are using as a visual guide to play by.

Part of what drives the creation and implementation of PBMville: Wild West Shootout is the line of thought that lives within me that creating a whole slew of new PBM games do not have to necessarily be an exhausting exercise. Heck, new PBM games don't even have to be particularly well thought out, either. Way back in the golden era of play by mail gaming, PBM players and PBM companies and PBM GMs seemed to have developed a tendency to look at PBM games as permanent creations, rather than games that were more temporary in nature.

Oh, sure, there were plenty of close-ended games in PBM's long and glorious (or inglorious) history, but that's not quite the same thing as PBM games designed with their very existence intended to be only temporary and fleeting in nature. What this approach brings to the table is that PBM gamers can benefit by having temporary boosts of imagination and fun injected into them, and that creativity in PBM game design has a real space of substance and size to flourish in. In theory, a lot more PBM games could come into existence in a much shorter span of time, this way. Whether players enjoy them or not, they would have more of a temporary quality to them, kind of like a play and toss or a play and burn approach to PBM game design.

If what new PBM game you design turns out to be perfect, event he best PBM game ever designed, fine. Or if your PBM game creation turns out to be a half-ass piece of crap, equally fine. here now, gone tomorrow (or two weeks, or three months, or whatever). Such temporary games would, I think, be ideal vessels to showcase particular, individual concepts of game design.

Maybe one such temporary PBM game would develop a really nice character system, whereas another one might be really good at certain aspects of magic in game design, or a third such temporary PBM game might bring large scare warfare in such a way that its players just fall in love with it.

I look at many of the PBM games on the market, today, both of the postal variety and the digital variety, and I can't help but to wonder why the selection of what PBM games to choose from is so relatively sparse. It really doesn't have to be that way. And, in fact, it's only that way, because the overall PBM gaming community chooses to allow it to be and to remain that way.

So, from that perspective, PBM gaming really is in an equivalent era of America's Old West time period. A vast terrain of possibilities, but woefully underpopulated by not just players and companies and GMs, but by ideas. The American Old West required courage of its inhabitants. And charting towards a new future for PBM gaming will require courage, also. And sacrifice. And good old fashioned ingenuity, which is not something that Americans hold a monopoly on, but rather, is something that inheres in the human species as a whole, regardless of nationality, background, or upbringing. Who knows? Even Richard Lockwood might have a little bit of ingenuity crawling around in the nooks and crannies of his mind.

Assuming he even has a mind, of course.

Temporary PBM games don't have to an actual end date. Rather, they an just ride off into the PBM sunset, and fade away into PBM history. They do not have to require long-term investments of time and effort. And the best part of it all? Temporary PBM games can run the gamut of whatever your imagination can come up with. In sum, temporary PBM games can be games that you, but not your children or grandchildren get to play - and by design, at that!

Right now, as of the time that I write this, there are nine players currently signed up to play in PBMville. It's not a large number, but it just might be a larger number of players than some actual PBM games that have been around for a while have, or pretty close, thereto. Do you think that I stress over how many players that PBMville gets? Nope, not at all. It's completely stress-free (which is not the same thing as free stress, if you might be wondering). The free stress PBM games are definitely the ones that you want to avoid. Unless you don't have enough stress in your life, already.

You don't have to have a big, fancy website, just to create and to run your own PBM games. You don't have to spend a lot of money. Actually, you don't have to spend any money, at all, to design and run your own PBM game. Sure, your new PBM game might not be counted by many old school PBM gamers, or by PBM purists (whatever the hell that term means), as a so-called "legitimate" PBM game, but why would you even care about that, at all? I don't, and I'm the guy who "runs" (::ahem::) PlayByMail.Net and its various PBM-related tentacles. I certainly don't recall having to ask anyone's permission to create and to launch and to run PBMville: Wild West Shootout, just as I didn't ask anybody's permission to create and to publish the original Suspense & Decision magazine, PBM Unearthed, and PBM Chaos (the latest imperfect brainchild of old man yours truly).

Let me let you in on a little secret. Rick Loomis didn't go around asking anybody in the commercial PBM industry if he could start creating and running PBM games under the auspices of Flying Buffalo, Inc.. Instead, he pioneered the entire field of commercial play by mail gaming. Do you think that he ever envisioned that more than a thousand PBM games by hundreds of different PBM companies would eventually flourish from that initial PBM seed that he planted? When Rick Loomis brought Flying Buffalo, Inc. into existence, there was no commercial PBM industry. But when Rick Loomis found discovered that commercial PBM honey, it didn't take long for the PBM bees to gather. And before long, people from all over the world were hearing the PBM buzz and tasting (playing) the PBM honey for themselves. Many even got stung by the habit of playing PBM games for years or decades on end. These days, and for a variety of different reasons, some think that the PBM bees are in trouble, and that the hives of individual PBM games may be dying - or even worse, already dead.


Think that you're not a PBM game designer? Well, I'm not really a publisher nor an editor, either. I'm just a guy who stepped up, one day, and who decided on my own to start trying to do some PBM stuff (whatever stuff is). Doing PBM stuff is a lot like hunting, or fishing, or girls' night out. PBM gaming isn't strictly a male-only "profession." In the span of its entire history, there have been all kind of women involved in every aspect of PBM gaming.

PBM games of every age and of every stripe (Wayne Smith is a Clemson Tigers fan, so I had to throw that in there just for him) all have their personal favorite PBM games. Personal favorites aside, do you know what the actual best PBM game is?

It's the one that hasn't been designed yet, that hasn't been created yet, that is still waiting to see the light of day. And YOU just might be the one who breathes life into it.

Don't worry about getting things wrong. And don't you dare worry about the possibility that you might inadvertently create some PBM Frankenstein of a game. The Creeper unit in Minecraft was never originally intended. It kind of took on a life - and a popularity - of its own. It was, in essence, a mistake.

Sometimes, even mistakes make the world a better place

 And in this day and age, PBM could really use a few Frankenstein PBM games. The PBM pickings are a lot more slim than is healthy for the PBM industry and hobby to be a vibrant, thriving thing. If you only look at just the PBM industry and hobby, what you perceive to be the "big PBM companies" don't really have to compete. What are they competing against? The same old things. Tell me, and don't be shy about it - who is shaking up the PBM industry? Who's giving the PBM hobbyist fits? Name that PBM company. Name that PBM GM. Name that tune.

You can't move the PBM football down the field, if no one will play in the game. If you talk about PBM gaming, or if you just think about PBM gaming, whether a whole lot or just a little bit, then whether you realize it or not, you really are capable of designing your own PBM game. Heck, even I did that, and that was close to forty years ago. Starforce Battles, people, and don't you forget it!

Been there. Done that. But what about YOU?

The next time that PBMville crosses your mind or your field of vision, think about how much better that it could be. Think about what you would do different, if it was up to you? Think about how it could be expanded, and fleshed out. Think about everything that it's missing. Do that, and who knows? You might well be on your way to creating your own PBM game.

But if your name is Richard Weatherhead, don't think for even a second that I've forgotten about that article that you said that you were going to write.

Those Austerlitz players and fans, you've really gotta watch 'em like a hawk!

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PBMville Characters & Locations

The Living


Somehow or other, I - the GM and Narrator - for PBMville managed to screw up right off the bat, and ended up depriving character Brendan "The Dirge" Weir of what was supposed to be a shot, last turn, but ended up getting listed as a move order. My bad, my mistake, my error! If there's ever an error in your turn orders, ALWAYS bring it to my attention, as soon as you notice it.

However, much as in real life, life in PBMville ain't fair, life in the Wild West ain't. Luck, misfortune, destiny, and chance all play a role (as do hobbled-memory GMs). In the Wild West, sometimes your characters are just gonna be shit out of luck, as the old saying goes. This could just be karma kicking in, for "The Dirge" cheating at that card game in Carson City, Nevada. Sometimes in life, bad things happen to bad people.

As the game just got started (couldn't be a worse time to screw up as a GM and Narrator), there's no actual rule or mechanism in place to govern what happens when I screw up. So, here is what we're going to do, going forth, in situations where I mess up.

In NO INSTANCES, WHATSOEVER, will I rerun turns. I will, however, roll dice (one die, specifically), and if the roll is a 1, 2, or 3, then the character just takes it on the chin. If the roll is a 4, 5, or 6, then I will "compensate" the affected player or character in some way, with the choice and decision of what constitutes "just and fair compensation" in this version of the Wild West lying entirely within the scope of my personal discretion. Just as gold is gold, and whiskey is whiskey, compensation is compensation. Going forward, a chance at compensation is the best that anybody in PBMville can rightly hope for.

My personal apologies to player Brendan Weir for the screw up!

And now for the dice roll. . .wait for it. . .6. Thus, compensation shall be forthcoming, dammit! Look for it, below.

Big Bad Black Bob

Player: Indie Spin

Health: GOOD

Last Location = Entering PBMville

Assignment Last Turn: NONE

Current Location: 1

Born into a life of slavery in Jackson, Mississippi, Big Bad Black Bob learned at an early age to despise authority, but it also instilled within him a cold patience and a calculating mind. Escaping his Southern master following one of many severe beatings over the course of his life, Big Bad Black Bob tried escaping North, but circumstances and slave patrols conspired to cause him to head West, where he's been ever since. Collectively, his harsh life experiences have warped him, leaving him an emotionless shell, and his searing blue eyes make him a marked man by many in the Wild West era. He also loves his chewing tobacco, and leaves a real mess, wherever he goes.

Makes Widows Smile

Player: Teddy Tedstone

Health: GOOD

Last Location = Entering PBMville

Assignment Last Turn: NONE

Current Location: 30

A Comanche chief with a hankering for firewater and a taste for saloon girls, Makes Widows Smiles is as tough as nails, but he has bad teeth - and his sore teeth ain't afraid to remind him. He thinks nothing of just up and leaving his tribe for weeks, or even months, on end. They always end up taking him back in, when he returns home to his tribe, out of a deep and abiding respect that they have for his father, a great warchief of the Comanche people. While Makes Widows Smile speaks broken English, he definitely speaks fluent firewater.

Deputy Winslow Kinkaid

Player: NPC

Health: GOOD

Last Location = 5

Assignment Last Turn: MOVE to 3.

Current Location: 3

NOTE: Deputies get one order slot per turn.

Ringo "Fifty Two" Fry

Player: Bryan Ciesielski

Health: GOOD

Last Location = 24

Assignment Last Turn: Shoots at Dan "The Loner Hughes" in 13.

Current Location:  24

Having woke up in a bad mood, Ringo "Fifty Two" Fry saw a man standing in the middle of the dusty street, and quickly spotted something right off that he didn't like about the man. That man turned out to be none other than Dan "The Loner" Hughes, who had just went another day without taking a bath.

But Ringo's long range Hail Mary shot flew way wide of its target, missing by a country mile, but waking Dan up. The Loner just glared at Ringo, and began cussing him under his rotten-smelling breath. Something about a "sorry son of a bitch" and a "piss-poor aim" was all that the town folks nearby could make out, when Dan "The Loner" Hughes commenced to mumbling aloud after he heard the bullet that was fired in his direction hit the side of a building.

Apparently, standing out in the open was the safest place to be, when Ringo "Fifty Two" Fry was looking to gun somebody down.

Dan "The Loner" Hughes

Player: Stefan Graf

Health: GOOD

Last Location = 13

Assignment Last Turn: MOVE to 8.

Current Location: 8

Fastdraw Kid Sammy Hill

Player: Alex Sahm

Health: GOOD

Last Location = 20

Assignment Last Turn: MOVE to 19.

Current Location: 19

Mississippi Jane Deadshot

Player: Richard Lockwood

Health: GOOD

Last Location = 26

Assignment Last Turn: MOVE to 25.

Current Location: 25 

Wild Willey Gunn

Player: Rich Deluca

Health: DEAD

Last Location = 12

Assignment Last Turn: MOVE to 9.

Current Location: DEAD

BANG! Before he could even move, hot lead found its way into his back. Bleeding profusely and more than just a little confused, he squirmed like a small dog that had been kicked real hard. His final words were these - "No more happy trails for me, mama!"

Rowdy Slim McGraw

Casey Link

Health: GOOD

Last Location = 22

Assignment Last Turn: Shoots at Wild Willey Gunn in 12.

Current Location: 22

People Killed: 1

Swift on the draw, Rowdy Slim McGraw took a slow bead on the man not far from him, catching him when the other feller looked the other way. He slowly squeezed a round off, and his aim was true. Down went Wild Willey Gunn, like a sack of potatoes tossed without care. He hit the ground hard - damned hard! It was all over in just a few moments, and Wild Willey Gunn was suddenly no more for this world. Rowdy Slim McGraw carved a notch into his revolver with a pocket knife, as he watched Wild Willey Gunn bleed out.

Brendan "The Dirge" Weir

Player: Brendan Weir

Health: GOOD

Last Location = 16

Assignment Last Turn: MOVE to 15.

Current Location: 15

Possession: Ace of Spades [1 Use Only] [Averts Death]

While walking down the dirty street, "The Dirge" looks down and something catches his eye. An Ace of Spades! He picks it up, and stuffs it into his shirt pocket, feeling as if his bad luck was just about to change.

Boot Hill Cemetery
The Dead



Wild Willey Gunn
Was shot in the back
Wasn't no fun
A wallop it packed

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Lifetime discount

on all burial plots!

See the Undertaker
for more details.

Death comes for us all.

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What are they saying about PBM Chaos?

Issue #14

Ha ha, loved Wayne’s article. No wonder the Renchu bunch were so well organised. Absolute ruddy shower!

Steve AKA Sir Arron Castel, wielder of the sword of Sun Cona, leader of the order of the Red Rose.

PS Great read overall.

- Stephen Suddell

Editor's Note: It's always a real joy, when fellow PBM gamers and fans of PBM nostalgia write in, whether it's to say a little or to say a lot. It really is like PBM gold. Or should I say PBM gold teeth, since getting people to share even a little bit of their thoughts or memories about PBM gaming can be a lot like pulling teeth, at times. It's such a great mystery why so many die-hard PBM fans are so inexplicably hesitant to part with some of the best memories of their PBM lives. But so it goes. . .

So, the rest of you out there reading this, don't make me have to grab the PBM pliers!

It was so good to hear from you, Stephen, and I just know that your reply will make Wayne's day. Maybe your example will inspire others, and perhaps they will come to the realization that sharing even small PBM portions of memories can yield a mother lode of good memories. Thank you, Stephen!

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Overheard in PBM circles

PlayByMailFacebook Page

I'm at the point where I'm bouncing with excitement while being a total newbie sure to make terrible moves in any game I try. I'll try out several before picking my favorites, I'm sure.

Soham Ganguly

Editor's Note: Soham Ganguly hails from the country of India. It's beyond great to have him enter the realm of PBM gaming, as he sets out to try PBM games for the very first time.

Oh good, another possibility! Alamaze just overwhelmed me with complexity, my eyes started swimming just trying the first turn of a solo practice game .... and MEPBM looks to be similar, and maybe a bit _more_ complex ...Time to dig into the rulebook!

- Sean Long

Preux et Audacieux (En Garde) is Spanish or at least Spanish language.

- Sam Flintlock

Lots of Spanish MEPBM players, some in Brazil as well just off the top of my head.

- Jason Retzlaff

We have someone in Finland as well.

- Brent Ross

I'm New Zealand!

- Gavin Baumber

hi, im brazilian

- Gabryel Aragao

I'm from India

- Soham Ganguly

You can mark Slovakia, if the map includes individuals playing online PBMs. I'm playing in a few.

- Lubos Comor

None from Sweden? Used to be many of them in the 90s. Also Italy and Spain.

- Makis Xiroyannis

No memories yet, as I'm brand new to the hobby, but can't wait to check this out. Currently been reading through some of the back issues.

- Joe Tallman

The website is still a work in progress but the game is functional. The is also a basic GUI program available for those who are interested.

Barry Dewey-Robertson

Far Horizons GM

A few other En Garde! games, both accepting new players.Sword and Crown and Pumpkin's En Garde! are both run via Discord.

- Sam Flintlock

I couldn't remember who was playing Juma's Kingdom in HW-982. I didn't have a player list for that game handy. I thought that he did a great job.

- Wayne "Older Than Dirt" Smith

Juma's Kingdom doesn't win often!

- David Spencer

Third Age, circa 1650 was the version of Middle-earth PBM that I tried with GSI, back in the day. Er-Murazor the Witch-king of Angmar and Hoarmurath, the Ice King, were the two kingdoms that I played. I didn't play either of them to the end, and I sucked at it, but the game as a whole left a positive impression upon me.

- Charles Mosteller


Clint GM10/12/2023

Yep 970 out, lots of new players. We've been marketing so I'll be curious to know what the actual conversion rate is. I've got a cost to acquire for players signing up and starting to play. If it's then viable we might then do a lot more marketing. We'll see. 627 all v all KS game is 10/12 filled.

John Davis GM10/16/2023

Kin Strife stats....

From 2014 - July 22

(FP / DS)

Grudge 16 23

Gunboat 3 10

Individual 12 9

So a pretty clear DS advantage.

However, looking at just 22-23, we have:

(FP / DS)

Grudge 3 3

Gunboat 5 5
Individual 0 2

Which is much closer. So, does this mean recent tactics mean the previous DS advantage has been countered?


Davin — 10/14/2023

I provide a GUI interface for Galac-Tac, but it's not the only way it could go. I encourage people to write their own interfaces as well and provide the interface needed to accept and return game data. There was a request to have a special interface for blind players, too, which could be done in a similar way. And a phone-based (browser or not) interface would also be a comfort to players. If anyone wants to write their own interface then I would be happy to host it for download on my web site for others to use.


Anyone that wants to try out Galac-Tac, I would recommend first going to the Articles page and reading the first two short articles for an Introduction and a Quick-Start to the game. This will get you started and playing turns without having to read any of the full manual at all. Also, the bare reports are still text-based from the old days, so if you'd like a little more comfortable interface, please consider downloading the GTac Assistant and trying it out from there.

Boldhome Heroes


1630 - 10 (Late Dark Season) - Turn Report: https://bh.antikvanti.com/viewtopic.php?f=5&t=489

Broar Oct 19, 2023

I'm all for leaving the rules unchanged. It's

hard to get rises in Cha without these and changing it now would be

detrimental to those of us who are double Initiates and already having

to spend all our month doing cult duties (even if your character is a

God too!).

Yes, Broar, has definitely benefitted by toadying to various Priests but

that's effectively all he can do aside from learn cult skills until

such time as he is able to rise to a higher cult rank and the penalty

from lack of female companionship keeps mounting up! (No pun intended!).

So, there you have it my views / thoughts although I'm prepared to

compromise if a special dispensation is given to Chalana Arroy &

Lankhor Mhy cultists......you can change the rules for all the others!

Atlantis: New Origins


I think the current implementation is "better" because it forces choices without full information. I think it is also better, thematically, as you shouldn't really be able to tell if someone noticed you and then decide to put on your heraldic clothing... Either you're wearing your faction colors or you aren't. The hiding in the bushes part is kinda separate...

benyoba (48)10/18/2023

Someone needs to point out the weaknesses of being territory oriented compared to mobile fleets.



Question: Is the Revelation Spell one time cast all game or one time against each Kingdom?

Croaker — 10/15/2023

Definitely old school play by paper mail for 453. This is the first game returning to Alamaze after about 17 years.

Wookie Panz — 10/15/2023

Here are a couple of questions about game creation.

First, has anyone every tried the random cities placement? It seems to
me it would be more interesting to start a game without knowing where
those major cities are. Triumvia, Nyvaria, and Zamora start with
coastal major cities. Not KNOWING if they will be coastal or not would
make things more interesting, no? Stormgate only has 2 squares so even
random placement there would not be much of a surprise.

I started a duel with Grimfinger awhile back and he mistakenly picked
random cities. It was actually interesting but we ended up doing a

The second question question is about the new anon game signup.


Does the above refer to the game start option of four extra orders per turn?

Strylian — 10/15/2023

King Theodin of the Halflings to the Halfling people of Nyvaria and all the good people of the realms of Alamaze.

"Good evening, my fellow Nyvarians,

Today, I can report to the Halfling people, and to the world, that the
First Halfling Division, our elite Special Forces, have conducted an
operation that has brought to justice Power 7 Mage Damadus, and his
apprentice, Power 5 Mage Mystirian, two individuals who have wrought
immeasurable suffering and despair upon our land and its citizens.

In the past years, our realm has known pain that words can scarcely
describe. The village of Westeria, once a beacon of peace and
prosperity, was decimated by a meteor called down by Damadus, its
citizens lost, its laughter and joy silenced forever. This act of
unforgivable malevolence will forever remain in our hearts, a stark
reminder of the devastation that the forces of darkness can inflict upon
the innocent.

Tonight, we can announce that, through steadfast determination, skill,
and the unwavering courage of our brave soldiers, the shadow cast by
Damadus and Mystirian has been lifted.

This achievement serves not as a note of triumph, but as a solemn
remembrance of the cost of freedom and security. We recall those we have
lost, not just in Westeria, but across all of Nyvaria, and we honor
their memory by standing firm, united against those who wish to bring
darkness upon our land.

The action taken against these agents of chaos is a testament to our
resolve, to our commitment to justice, and to the tireless pursuit of
fairness and righteousness that has always defined the halfling people.

Our victory is not defined by vengeance against those who have wronged
us. We find our triumph in the communities we build, the fellowship we
nurture, and the unbreakable spirit that has carried us through our
darkest hours. We are, and will always be, a people of great heart,
immeasurable courage, and an enduring belief in a better tomorrow.

Tonight, let us stand together in quiet reflection, in solemn respect
for those we have lost, and in acknowledgment of the tireless work of
our valiant forces, who have once again demonstrated that there is no
shadow from which we cannot emerge, stronger and more united.

Let it be known across the realms that Nyvaria will stand, unyielding,
against the specters of malice and oppression. We will protect our own,
safeguard our legacy, and ensure that the lives we build will endure,
untainted by the vile touch of hatred and malevolence.

May the lights of Nyvaria shine ever bright, a beacon of hope,
endurance, and the unwavering strength of unity in the face of
adversity. Let our lights scatter the darkness, reveal the path ahead,
and guide us towards a future where no village will know the fate of

May the lost rest in gentle peace. May their memories fuel our
determination and guide our way towards a future where every halfling
child can gaze at the stars in wonder, unburdened by the shadows of
malevolence and fear.

Thank you. May your hearts be light and your spirits undaunted as we walk forward, together, into the morrow."

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Green Sun: Rise & Fall

Green Sun: Rise & Fall is a Hybrid (hand and computer moderated), clan type, science-fiction, Play by Mail Game.

Green Sun: Rise & Fall is an open-ended play-by-mail game in which the player takes control of a race of creatures, who having just mastered the technology to travel faster than light, are about to set out and explore the stars. This breakthrough, and the exploration it leads to, opens up a new ‘golden age’ for the race in terms of technological advancement. Whatever the history of your race up until this point, the commitment by your people to explore the stars will see a great blossoming of ideas, leading to ever more opportunities.

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Have you tried these PBM games?
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Is your favorite PBM game getting left out? Am I overlooking it, when I publish issues of PBM Chaos? Then you should probably write in, and remind me.

If need be, then stay on my case about it. Ride my ass about it. Don't hesitate to write, and don't let up!

Dare to be a vocal advocate for your favorite PBM game! Champion your favorite PBM game!

Play by mail gaming can always use more advocacy. And I can certainly use the help.

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The Post-Apocalypse World of PBM

Charles Mosteller

What can I say? I like colorful headlines.

For those who genuinely believe that PBM died a long time ago, then this truly is a post-apocalyptic PBM world that they're living in. Simultaneously, this segment of the PBM population may be wholly unable to find a PBM game to play - any PBM game at all, yet here I am, utterly incapable of keeping up with everything that is going on in PBM gaming.

Without going back and trying to track them all down and coming up with an exact count, there's probably at least a half-dozen or more new PBM games in the works. Don't you know that, though? Aren't you aware of it? Where have you been?

Where, indeed! If memory serves me correctly, at least one of these PBM games in the work will be playable via the postal service. Most, though, will not be. And when will any of this new line of PBM games hit the market and be ready for play? Your guess is as good as mine.

Programmers, you see, like to tinker. They like to perfect. They don't want to release any game before its time. And the last thing that they "need" is for a game with their name on it to be plagued with bugs.

Some of these new PBM games that are planned may, in fact, never even leave the planning stage. Some may prove to be little more than PBM pipe dreams. Hey, it's great to imagine bringing new PBM games into existence! There's just something about creative power that really gets people charged up.

How many different PBM ideas have you had over the course of your lifetime? Me? Probably more than I could ever count. I once daydreamed about creating my own PBM game. In more recent years, I've imagined myself creating my own PBM magazine. I've considered the possibility of publishing more than one PBM newsletter. Hell, I've even pondered doing a PBM mailing list.

But, wait! Didn't all of those PBM things actually happened?

You bet they did. But so what? Who cares? My point is simply this - don't be so quick to discount others and their PBM ambitions, and also, don't be quick to discount your own PBM dreams of bringing a new PBM game into existence.

If you had told twenty years ago, or even ten years ago, that one day, Rick McDowell would sell Alamaze to somebody else, I would have likely told you that you were crazy. But in this post-apocalyptic PBM world of the present era, the fact of the matter is that Alamaze has a new owner. If PBM is dead, somebody sure forgot to tell John Mulholland that.

Why would he buy Alamaze, if PBM were dead? Why spend money on it? In the old days of yesteryear, Alamaze had tons of players. In recent years, Alamaze has struggled to keep its player base up. Long ago, the most popular PBM games had more players, individually, than all PBM games likely have, today.

Yet, PBM companies and PBM GMs had less options at their disposal, then, than they have at their disposal, now.

Why do PBM games, today, encounter so much difficulty maintaining and growing their player bases for their respective PBM games? Are there simply no viable options? Are there no channels of advertising that they can exploit to grow their player bases? Are there less gamers, now, than there used to be forty or fifty years ago?

Something has to be wrong. Doesn't it? How did PBM companies and GMs grow their player bases, back when commercial PBM gaming was still in a state of utter infancy? If I remember correctly, they didn't even have the Internet at their disposal, since what we take for granted as the Internet, these days, simply didn't exist back then.

Fortunately, there's no shortage of excuses. PBM always runs a surplus of excuses. At least we have that to be thankful for, huh? But how far does PBM get, when it runs on excuses?

Happy PBM gaming!

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